Readings for Monday June 13, 2011
Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor of the Church
First Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-42
We cause no one to stumble in anything, in order that no fault may be found with our ministry; on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves as ministers of God, through much endurance, in afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech, in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left; through glory and dishonor, insult and praise. We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful; as unrecognized and yet acknowledged; as dying and behold we live; as chastised and yet not put to death; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things. (2 Cor 6:3-10)
Imagine that you are home one afternoon, when all of a sudden, hunger strikes. So you go into the kitchen and open the fridge to see what there is. Two things catch your eye, on one shelf is a delicious looking piece of chocolate cake; and on the other shelf is a salad, with fresh romaine lettuce and various fresh veggies. Now both things would do the job of satisfying your hunger, but the question is which one to choose. Now, we all know which one certainly tastes better, but one thing to remember is that looks are often times deceiving. Sure the chocolate cake will satisfy your hunger, and it will certainly taste good going down; but it is really not the best choice for you because that cake is loaded with unhealthy things like tons of calories, sugar and bad fats. Now the salad on the other hand, may not be the most exciting in the world, but if paired with a healthy dressing, can be the superior choice (sorry, but dressings like ranch and ceasar do not do much to enhance the healthy state of a salad). While it may seem bland, that salad is loaded with all kinds of good nutritional things like vitamins, minerals, low calories etc. It will satisfy your hunger, leave you feeling better (both physically and mentally), and it will give your body the things that it actually needs.
Like our chocolate cake versus the salad example, St. Paul touches upon this idea that looks are deceiving as well. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he tells of what things may look like to others and how they really are among Christians. He says they are treated as liars and deceivers, even though they are truthful. They are treated as sorrowful, yet they are always rejoicing. They are treated and seen as having nothing, yet possessing everything. Saint Paul knows that looks can be deceiving, especially in the faith life. He knows that to the world, our faith may be seen as a burden or something that is all in vain, but to those who believe and follow and truly allow Christ to be in their lives, nothing is in vain. To those who seek God's will, truly find their lives and find a joy that is indescribable.
Following Christ takes sacrifice, and this is something that Christ has told us Himself. But for those of us who are willing to follow and trust, we will experience something that most will never know, and we will gain a reward that we cannot even fully comprehend. Our Christian faith may not look the most appealing, but we must remember that it has everything we need and more.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with and for the many gifts in our life. Lord, we thank you for hte gift of family and friends, and for all those who build us up in our lives. Help us to be a gift to each other and to be a good example of love in this world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.